Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Aerobic Base Ride - More

This is just a quick addendum to the post I made yesterday on the subject of the aerobic base ride. In that post I commented that your heart rate should stay primarily in zone 2. This allows you to complete a long, steady endurance workout that boosts aerobic fitness. One of the athletes I coach did such a ride yesterday. Here you can see a chart which shows how his heart rate was distributed by zones. This is an excellent example of what the heart rate distribution should look like after such a workout.

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At December 1, 2009 11:10 AM , Anonymous Martin said...


I'm a rider in the Northeast, with a full time job and a decent commute. This limits my endurance rides to the weekends when there is actually light (and overcast at that!).

I'm currently in the prep zone for the next couple of weeks. As you said, the more time spent in Zone 2, the better your body will be challenged. During the week I only have about an hour to ride on an indoor trainer (I also mix in some jogging to cross train during the dark hours).

While I've read the training bible and what it has to say about two-a-days. My question has to do with that patience, am I wasting my time by doing a solid 60 minutes in zone 2, or am I stopping just before the body can really get the most out of that workout?

In any case I suppose something is better than nothing.

keep it up!

At December 1, 2009 11:44 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

martin--No, I'd say that's good. Keep it up.

At December 1, 2009 9:23 PM , Blogger Paul Fleuren said...

Hi Joe,

If I am struggling to do that much time in zone 2 should I reduce the distance of my long ride until I can?

For example, I rode 180km last week in 5:35, with an av hr of 127bpm. Top of zone 1 is 136bpm. I spent close to 60% in zone 1, 35% in zone 2 and 5% in zone 3.

Or would I be better off just gradually increasing the time I spend in zone 2 and keep my long ride around 180km?

In all my IM's a ride between 5:10-5:20 and I average around 135bpm. My goal is to be a bit quicker in 18 weeks time when I do my next IM. ;-)


At December 2, 2009 11:05 AM , Blogger N8rhino said...

Do you believe that there is much difference between the upper end of zone 2 and bottom end of zone 3? As an example I have been following your suggestions since you published a similar article at about the same time last year. I went out yesterday and road at my upper Z2 bottom Z3 for almost 2 hrs. my Hr/Wt was 1%. Felt great and could have gone longer but ran out of time and road. I've really enjoyed your articles thank you in advance.

At December 2, 2009 2:20 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Paul--Continue to ride long but reduce the amount of z2 withing the ride to what you can now manage. Increase it gradually over time.

At December 2, 2009 2:21 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

glead675--There's always the possibility that the zones may not be right for someone. You may be that person.

At December 2, 2009 2:23 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

n8rhino--Once you have establsihed good aerobic fitness there's not much difference.

At December 3, 2009 9:38 AM , Blogger Jim said...


I have been enthusiastically following your program for the last two years and just bought a powermeter and the WKO software but I am struggling to figure it all out. Do you have a Beginner's Power Primer video or book you can recommend because there's so much stuff out there (much of it outdated) that I want to focus my reading so I can shorten the learning curve as much as possible.

Thanks, Jim

At December 3, 2009 1:09 PM , Blogger Fixie Rider said...

Hi Joe,

I have been following the Cycling Training Bible for about a year now. The Aerobic Endurance & Coupling topic is one that I am focusing on as part of my base training (like this post mentions).

I am using a power tap and the WKO+ software. You mention that WKO will compute the Aerobic coupling/de-coupling automatically. Where can I find that in the WKO display? I am having a hard time finding it.

Thanks for all the great information!

At December 3, 2009 2:26 PM , Blogger vujaracing said...

Hello Mr. Friel,

I'm a young mountainbiker from Belgium, I'm also student in physical and health education, my dream is to become a great coach like you. That's why I study your training bible to schedule my training plan for this season, but I have a little question: After my third week of Base 3 period, I scheduled a rest & recovery week like you advice in your book, but during this week I'll be in french mountains for a snowboard camp with my school and I can't take my bike. Do you think than it's still good to do a week without bike, only snowboarding? Do you have some training alternatives? Or do you think than I have to find a bike there?

Best regards

and excuse me for my bad english grammar.


At December 3, 2009 3:11 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Jim--Go to http://www.trainingbible.com/resources.aspx and scroll down to 'Joe Friel's Training with Power.' That's a basic primer. After that get a copy of Allen's and Coggan's book Training and Racing with a Power Meter.

At December 3, 2009 3:13 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

fixie--In the WKO workout Graph display find 'P:HR' on the left side. That's decoupling.

At December 3, 2009 3:30 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

vujaracing--Your English is much better than my French or Flemish. So no problems. This time of year I think it's ok to miss some bike time in a R&R week. And if there is no good alternative you may not have a choice anyway. Good luck with your training and studying!

At December 3, 2009 10:23 PM , Blogger vujaracing said...

Thanks Mr. Friel,

I'm happy to know that. I'll try to do some others easy workouts like running or CC Skiing during this week.

Thanks again for your help

Best regards


At December 4, 2009 8:00 AM , Blogger Fixie Rider said...

Thanks Joe,

One more question - what is the difference between Pw:HR and Pa:HR?

Are those decoupling percentages based on normalized and average power?

At December 4, 2009 1:50 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Fixie--Pa:HR is pace-HR ratio. Decoupling for runners.Both are based on NP (norm power) and NGP (norm graded pace).

At December 6, 2009 3:56 AM , Anonymous Filippo said...

Hi Joe,
this is a great blog and I would like to tell you my point of view.
I use a powertap which gives me a good point of view of my training sessions quality.
In my long rides, having the goal of an Half Ironman, I try to finish the last 10-20% of the ride in Zone 3, because I do the same approach of my long runs where I finish the last 5km at marathon pace. Our body is able to sustain around 180mins of Zone 3 and this can be a marathon or a Half Ironman so throwing in some Zone 3 finish, in my opinion, is mandatory in a Long Ride. don't you think so?
While, for IM preparation, zone 2 will be your racing zone and long rides can be kept in such region for most of the time. No big need of pushing zone 3.

At December 15, 2009 11:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

I am solidly into my base training right now, and am riding 3-5 hours 5-6 days per week (zone 2 of course). I notice that as the days go on, it takes more effort for me to keep my heart rate where it was at the beginning of the week. Gradually, 150-155 feels like an upper Z3 or Z4 effort. Do you know the physiological reason why this happens? Also, if I am trying to train in Zone 2, should I continue to up the effort to keep the HR at 150 near the end of the week, or scale it down?


At December 16, 2009 6:36 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

anon--Could simply be fatigue. That's a lot of volume. You need high stress days (long z2 can be quite stressful) balanced with low stress days.


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